at Work

Commercial Kitchen Equipment

4.1 Pre-Rinse Spray Valves

Best Management Practices for
Commercial and Institutional Facilities




May 2023

WaterSenseฎ is a voluntary partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) that seeks to protect the nation's water supply by transforming
the market for water-efficient products, services, and practices.

WaterSense at Work is a compilation of water efficiency best management practices
intended to help commercial and institutional facility owners and managers from multiple
sectors understand and better manage their water use. It provides guidance to help
establish an effective facility water management program and identify projects and
practices that can reduce facility water use.

An overview of the sections in WaterSense at Work is below. This document, covering
water efficiency for pre-rinse spray valves, is part of Section 4: Commercial Kitchen
Equipment. The complete list of best management practices is available at
www.epa.gov/watersense/best-management-practices. WaterSense has also developed
worksheets to assist with water management planning and case studies that highlight
successful water efficiency efforts of building owners and facility managers throughout
the country, available atwww.epa.gov/watersense/commercial-buildings.

•	Section 1. Getting Started With Water Management

•	Section 2. Water Use Monitoring

•	Section 3. Sanitary Fixtures and Equipment

•	Section 4. Commercial Kitchen Equipment

•	Section 5. Outdoor Water Use

•	Section 6. Mechanical Systems

•	Section 7. Laboratory and Medical Equipment

•	Section 8. Onsite Alternative Water Sources

EPA 832-F-23-003
Office of Water

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
May 2023

This document is one section from WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and
Institutional Facilities (EPA-832-F-23-003). Other sections can be downloaded from

www.epa.gov/watersense/hest-management-practices. Sections will be reviewed and periodically updated
to reflect new information. The work was supported under contract 68HERC20D0026 with Eastern Research
Group, Inc. (ERG).

May 2023

Commercial Kitchen Equipment
Pre-Rinse Spray Valves



Commercial pre-rinse spray valves are spray
nozzles that use water under pressure to
remove food residue from plates, pots, pans,
and other kitchen utensils prior to sanitation in
a dishwasher. Pre-rinse spray valves designed
for commercial dishwashing are different from
spray valves used for filling glasses, pots, or
kettles and for washing down countertops,
floors, and other kitchen areas. These other
types of spray valves typically have very
different usage patterns and higher flow rates,
and they are not the focus of this document.

Pre-rinse spray valves designed for
commercial dishwashing are connected to a
hose, which is connected to the water supply.

These handheld devices consist of a spray
nozzle, a squeeze lever that controls the water
flow, and a dish guard bumper. They often
include a spray handle clip, allowing the user
to lock the lever at full spray for continual use,
which can reduce hand strain. They can be
installed at the end of a flexible stainless steel
hose and can include a foot-operated, on-off

lever. Pre-rinse spray valves are usually located at the entrance to a dishwasher or over a
sink and are used in conjunction with a faucet fixture.

Pre-rinse spray valves can account for nearly one-third of the water used in a typical
commercial kitchen. Replacing an old, inefficient pre-rinse spray valve is one of the most
cost-effective projects a commercial kitchen can implement to achieve water and energy

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSenseฎ program published a
specification for commercial pre-rinse spray valves in 2013 with a maximum flow rate of
1.28 gallons per minute (gpm) (4.8 liters per minute [Ipm]}.1 At the time, the specification
represented a 20 percent flow rate reduction from the federally allowable maximum flow

1 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program. Pre-Rinse Spray Valves.


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Pre-Rinse Spray Valves

rate of 1.6 gpm (6.1 Ipm) established by the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005. Older
models manufactured prior to EPAct 2005 can use between 3.0 and 4.5 gpm (11.4 and
17.0 Ipm).

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) revised the federal energy conservation
standard for commercial pre-rinse spray valves. The new regulation, which was built on
the WaterSense specification flow rate and test method for performance, went into effect
in 2019 and requires all commercial pre-rinse spray valves sold in the United States to
meet the efficiency criteria included in Table 1 below, based on the product's achievable
spray force.

Table 1. Water Consumption Requirements for DOE-Compliant Commercial Pre-

Rinse Spray Valves

Product Class by Spray

Maximum Flow Rate (gpm)

Maximum Flow Rate (Ipm)

Product Class 1
< 5.0 ounces-force [ozf]
(< 142 grams-force [gramf])



Product Class 2
> 5.0 ozf and S 8.0 ozf
(> 142 gramf and < 227 gramf)



Product Class 3
> 8.0 ozf
(> 227 gramf)



When the new DOE regulation went into effect in 2019, EPA sunset its specification, and
pre-rinse spray valves can no longer earn the WaterSense label, since all models must be
within the maximum flow rate.

Replacing a pre-rinse spray valve that flows at 1.6 gpm (6.1 Ipm) or higher with a DOE-
compliant model will result in significant water and energy savings and a simple payback
period of less than one year for most facilities.

Operation, Maintenance, and User Education

For optimal pre-rinse spray valve efficiency, system pressure should be tested regularly
and should be between 20 and 80 pounds per square inch (psi) (138 and 552 kiloPascals
[kPa]). This will ensure that the pre-rinse spray valve will deliver the expected flow and
performance. In addition, consider the following:

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Pre-Rinse Spray Valves

•	Ensure that the pre-rinse spray valve unit's
hose height is appropriate for the user (i.e.,
neither too high nor too low). If the pre-
rinse spray valve is not situated at an
optimal height, users could choose to use
other methods with higher flow rates.

•	To decrease water use, train users to
manually scrape as much food waste from
dishes as possible before using the pre-
rinse spray valve.

•	Train users how to properly use the always-
on clamp, if available. Improper use of the
always-on clamp could lead to
unnecessary water waste. If a constant
stream of water is not necessary, train
users to manually depress the pre-rinse
spray valve handle only when water is

•	Periodically inspect pre-rinse spray valves for scale buildup to ensure flow is not
being restricted. There are certain cleaning products designed to dissolve scale
buildup on pre-rinse spray valves. Do not attempt to bore holes in the pre-rinse
spray valve, as this may lead to increased water use or cause performance
problems. If scale cannot be removed, consider replacing the pre-rinse spray valve
with a new model.

•	Periodically inspect pre-rinse spray valves for leaks and broken or loose parts, and
train users and other kitchen staff to identify and report leaks. If necessary and
possible, tighten screws and fittings to stop leakage. If the product cannot be
manually adjusted to perform properly, consider replacing the pre-rinse spray

Retrofit Options

Because pre-rinse spray valves are relatively inexpensive, consider replacement rather
than a retrofit or extensive repair, In general, avoid retrofitting existing, inefficient pre-rinse
spray valves with flow control inserts (which restrict water flow) to reduce the flow rate.
These devices might not provide adequate performance for rinsing, thereby increasing use
time and total water used.

Scrape Dishes to Save

Scraping dishes prior to rinsing them
with pre-rinse spray valves can reduce
a facility's water use and reduce the
load on the facility's garbage disposal.
In cafeteria style establishments, post
signage to prompt users to scrape
their own dishes at the end of a meal.
Alternatively, train dishwashing staff to
scrape dishes before using the
pre-rinse spray valve to remove
additional food waste.

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Pre-Rinse Spray Valves

Replacement Options

When installing new pre-rinse spray valves or
replacing older, inefficient pre-rinse spray
valves, choose DOE-compliant models with
flow rates of 1.28 gpm (4,85 Ipm) or less.

When selecting a replacement pre-rinse spray
valve, select a model that has a spray force
suitable for its end use. For restaurants and
commercial kitchens with only light
dishwashing needs, a model with a lower
measured spray force is likely adequate.

Models with lower spray forces tend to use less water than models with higher spray
force. Alternatively, facilities that consistently encounter dishes and cookware with
baked-on and caked-on food could benefit from a pre-rinse spray valve with a higher spray

Savings Potential

Because water use of pre-rinse spray valves is dependent on facility operations and
factors such as average throughput, water savings will vary by facility. To estimate facility-
specific water savings and payback, use the following information.

Current Water Use

To estimate the current water use of a pre-rinse spray valve, identify the following
information and use Equation 1 on the next page:

•	Flow rate of the existing pre-rinse spray valve: Pre-rinse spray valves installed
between 2005 and 2019 have flow rates of 1.6 gpm (6.1 Ipm} or less. Pre-rinse
spray valves installed before 2005 can have flow rates of up to 4.5 gpm (17.0 Ipm).

•	Average daily use time: This will vary by facility, but facilities typically use pre-rinse
spray valves for no more than 200 minutes per day.2

•	Days of facility operation per year.

2 EPA's WaterSense program. March 31, 2011. Pre-Rinse Spray Valves Field Study Report. Page 22,


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Pre-Rinse Spray Valves

Equation 1. Water Use of Pre-Rinse Spray Valve (gallons or liters per year)

= Pre-Rinse Spray Valve Flow Rate x Daily Use Time x Days of Facility Operation


•	Pre-Rinse Spray Valve Flow Rate: Gallons or liters per minute

•	Daily Use Time: Minutes per day

•	Days of Facility Operation: Days per year

Water Use After Replacement

To estimate the water use of a more efficient replacement pre-rinse spray valve, use
Equation 1, substituting the flow rate of the replacement pre-rinse spray valve. New, DOE-
compliant pre-rinse spray valves use 1.28 gpm (4.85 Ipm) or less.

Water Savings

To calculate the water savings that can be achieved from replacing an existing pre-rinse
spray valve, identify the following information and use Equation 2 below:

•	Current water use as calculated using Equation 1.

•	Water use after replacement as calculated using Equation 1.

Equation 2. Water Savings From Pre-Rinse Spray Valve Replacement (gallons or

liters per year)

= Current Water Use of Pre-Rinse Spray Valve - Water Use of Pre-Rinse Spray Valve

After Replacement


•	Current Water Use of Pre-Rinse Spray Valve: Gallons or liters
per year

•	Water Use of Pre-Rinse Spray Valve After Replacement:
Gallons or liters per year

Energy Savings

Because pre-rinse spray valves use hot water, a reduction in water use will also result in
energy savings. The energy required to heat water can be dependent on the fuel used for
water heating (e.g., electricity, natural gas), the efficiency of the water heater, and water
heater temperature set points. Since this information is not always readily available,
energy savings that can be achieved from replacing an existing pre-rinse spray valve can
be estimated using the water savings calculated using Equation 2 and the assumptions
presented in Equation 3 on the next page.

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Pre-Rinse Spray Valves

Equation 3. Energy Savings From Pre-Rinse Spray Valve Replacement (kWh of
electricity or Mcf of natural gas per year)

= Water Savings x Average Percent of Water That is Hot x (Energy per Gallon Heated

t Water Heater Efficiency)


•	Water Savings: gallons (or liters) per year

•	Average Percent of Water That Is Hot: 100%

•	Energy per Gallon or Liter Heated (assuming 75ฐF water
temperature increase):

o 0.183 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per gallon

(0.048 kWh per liter); or
o 0.0006 thousand cubic feet (Mcf) of natural gas per
gallon (0.00016 Mcf per liter)

•	Water Heater Efficiency (unless otherwise known by the

o 1.00 for an electric hot water heater; or
o 0.75 for a natural gas hot water heater

More detailed information to assist in calculating energy savings that result from saving
water can be found on WaterSense's data and information web page at


To calculate the simple payback from the water and energy savings associated with
replacing an existing pre-rinse spray valve, consider the equipment cost of the
replacement pre-rinse spray valve, the water and energy savings as calculated using
Equation 2 and Equation 3, respectively, and the facility-specific cost of water,
wastewater, and energy. From market research, pre-rinse spray valves typically cost less
than $150.

Additional Resources

DOE. Appliance and Equipment Standards Rulemakings and Notices: Commercial
Prerinse Spray Valves.

wwwl .eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance standards/standards.aspx?productid-69&act

EPA's WaterSense program. Pre-Rinse Spray Valves, www.epa.gov/watersense/pre-rinse-
sp ray-valves.

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This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by the United States Government.
While this document is believed to contain correct information, neither the United States
Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or
implied, or assumes any legal responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any
information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not
infringe privately owned rights. EPA hereby disclaims any liability for damages arising from the use
of the document, including, without limitation, direct, indirect, or consequential damages
including personal injury, property loss, loss of revenue, loss of profit, loss of opportunity, or other
loss. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by its trade name,
trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute nor imply its endorsement,
recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government nor any agency thereof. The views
and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United
States Government nor any agency thereof.


United States Environmental Protection Agency

EPA 832-F-23-003
May 2023
(866) WTR-SENS (987-7367)